Some Stuff I’ve Been Loving Lately

I’m overflowing with all kinds of awesome finds lately and I was too impatient to wait for Friday to be alliterative and crafty with a Friday Faves post. We’ll just call this one Tuesday…Tuesday…

I got nothing. Wait! Tuesday Things. Yup, Tuesday Things that can actually be enjoyed on days other than Tuesday. And that, my friends, is my thought process. Not everyone can come up with this quality writing, you know.

Baby Avocados

20140113_204120

I recently stopped in at a FoodMaxx and found a bulk bag of these tiny, perfect-sized avocados! No more eating half an avocado and letting the other half get brown and gross in the fridge. [Side note: if you’re looking for a new guilty pleasure try a bag of chili cheese Fritos with an avocado as dip. Dee-licious]

Budget Wines at Grocery Outlet

{source}

Grocery Outlet is the BEST store for finding good wines at budget prices. They’re marked down so much that I’m willing to try a bunch of new ones, and don’t mind the occasional stinker. Three Hoots Strix Sauvignon Blanc was a recent tasty find (plus that label).

three hoots strix sauvignon blanc 2010

Naked 3 Palette

This Christmas I was gifted the Naked 3 palette, and I’ve been enjoying it just as much as my go-to, the original Naked. This rendition features rose hues, and comes with four of their eyeshadow primer samples. The colors are pretty, hold up well over the day, and easily blend.

{source}

I’ve avoided pink/rose eyeshadows ever since someone in college told me I looked deathly ill when wearing an orangey/peach hue [because of course it was the hue and not the technique, right?!]. I’m so glad we’ve been reacquainted.

Having the Newspaper Delivered

Yes, it’s true, I’m doing my part to keep the printed word alive. Three days a week, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, I feel a little tickle of joy every time I open the door and find that little bundle of ads/comics/important stuff waiting for me. Enjoying the paper over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine has become one of my go-to ways to unwind a bit. Plus you get to find out about really cool things happening in your community! Who woulda thought?

PhotoGrid_1389674405859Stephen King musicals, human interest stories, and sour beer!

Saucony Guide 7’s

I didn’t love em at first fit. In fact, I was fairly dubious. But we’re going on two or three weeks now and skepticism is turning to lurrrrve. Review soon to come!

Saucony Guide 7

What have you been loving lately?

Always, Sierra

Thursday is the new Friday

Sometimes I like to go to Starbucks for lunch and feed my coffee addiction pretend I’m one of those cool people who gets to hang out at cafes during weekdays.

Starbucks for lunchHave you tried the Zesty Chicken Bowl? So freaking tasty, much better than the brown rice/kale bowl imo.

Last night, I went to Pasta Pelican with some of my fave gals.

Pasta Pelican

This was my second visit this week. It all started with a living social deal for dinner on Tuesday. The food was delicious, and between the classical music, homey feel and waterfront views, my soul was soothed. I did some ear-hustling while we were there and discovered that Thursdays are $10 wine tastings, all you can drink. True story.

When I hear wine tasting, I think small portions carefully poured into large glasses. Imagine how I felt when I walked in and saw this serve yourself table.

PhotoGrid_1379098819531

I like your style Pasta Pelican. Nicely done.

Just a few days ago I was browsing through the pages of the September issue of Better Homes & Gardens, and there’s an article featuring several health and fitness pr’s and some of their favorite tips. Here are two of my favorites, both dealing with my favorite thing in the world: food!

PhotoGrid_1379098893752{click for easier reading}

I’m a fan of sharing plates and taking home leftovers too when I eat out, but that whole eat an apple thing never works for me. I finish the apple and I’m just as hungry when I get to the restaurant.

Sometimes if I’m headed to happy hour (or all you can drink wine-tasting), I eat a meal at home before I go. Usually whatever I fix myself is going to be much healthier than what I’d end up indulging in while out, plus this helps me avoid drinking on an empty stomach and helps me save money. Last night I made a quick kale and ham saute with lots of veggies before I met up with the girls and then shared a bruschetta appetizer when I got there. Pasta Pelican’s bruschetta is on soft bread which I loved! I always feel so awkward when I eat the crunchy bruschetta. I’ve got a bit of a fear of dentists and imagine all of my teeth cracking with every bite. Hi, my name is Sierra and I’m neurotic about my teeth lol.

Do you have any favorite eating out tips? Have a great weekend!

Always, Sierra

 

Tomatoes and Sea Lions and Hills, oh my!

Omg guys, look at the size of my tomatoes!

home grown tomatoes

This is the first time I’ve been part of planting a garden, and I’ve never been so excited to see ripe tomatoes in my life. The big one in the front tasted like candy…sweet, juicy tomato candy. There’s even a tiny eggplant growing back there in that tangle of greenness! I think I’m ready for 50 acres and a plow.

I’m also ready for my next race…Run for the Seals 2013!

run for the seals 2013

The race is August 17th and there’s a 2 mile fun run/walk or a 4 mile run. A couple of years ago I did the 2 mile fun run/walk with my girls Y and A. I showed up in jeans and hiking boots with a chihuahua in tow.

Run for the Seals 2010

The course was gorgeous, and we had a great time dog and costume watching. This year, Y and I signed up for the 4 mile run. Being in the Marin headlands, I’m expecting the course to be on the hilly side. The website also says it’ll be a self-timed event, i.e. no chips, so this run’ll be more for fun and less about PR city.

Run for the Seals is a fundraising even to benefit The Marine Mammal Center, a great organization that helps rehabilitate and re-release sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals. I volunteered there a few years ago, and it was extremely rewarding and extremely smelly.

mmc

Some of the animals that came in were in heart-breaking condition. This is Abagnale, a sea lion who got entangled in fishing line, and one of the success stories. He eluded rescuers for almost three weeks, but we were eventually able to rescue him, rehab him at the center, and release him back into the wild. It was an awesome experience.

There’s more information about the Marine Mammal Center here, and more information about the race here. Come out and Run for the Seals!

Always, Sierra

Are you running for the seals?

Do you have a vegetable garden? Are you more green thumb or more black thumb? Truth be told, I’m more black thumb. I always forget to water stuff!

Anybody know what I can do with green, unripe tomatoes that fell off the vine?

Camping Tip and Confessions

Ever do something for so long you just kind of take it for granted? I was showing my co-worker pictures of my recent camping trip to Tahoe, and he asked, what’s with the tarp under the tent? Let’s discuss!

P1000364

Pros:

  • Protects the bottom surface of your tent from any sharp objects missed while throwing back a few welcome to camp beers during tent set up
  • Provides a place outside of the tent to take off shoes, and keeps things inside cleaner (this is my fave pro, anything to reduce the amount of sweeping out the tent I have to do at the end of the trip)
  • Keeps the bottom of the tent dry…although there is debate over whether the tarp should be under the tent, or inside the floor of the tent, or just turned into a slip and slide in case of rain. I vote for the latter.

Cons:

  • If you’re backpacking, tarps can take up precious poundage. I’d rather use that for important things…like Captain Crunch Berries.
  • Things like this can happen, no bueno:

Now, getting to the good stuff.

Confession #1: I eat the same breakfast every day during the week: whole wheat English Muffin, almond butter, 1% Cottage Cheese, and fruit (usually berries but I’ll settle for bananas or something citrus-y).

20130520_104328 20130520_104410

Do you think I’m boring? Pffh, no worries here. Just looking at it makes my mouth water. It’s got everything I’m looking for: protein, fat, carbs, a serving of fruits/veggies, and lots of antioxidants. So what keeps me coming back?

Almond butter.

Yeah, I know, you’ve heard it all before.

But the stuff is seriously amazing! When I don’t mind dealing with tiny parking lots and sideswiping vans, my fave is made by Berkeley Bowl. I also pick up MaraNatha on occasion. Chunky or creamy, I love it all (that’s what she said).

MaraNathaThe only downside of almond butter is that it can be kind of pricey. We’re on a kick to be smarter with our household grocery expenditures, and I checked the goods out on Amazon.

Mind. Blown. Do you know how many types of almond butter there are? My new mission in life is to try all of them.

Confession #2: Yesterday was my first time knowing National Running Day was a thing. I was hyped up, I was pepped…and then, I did not run. I tried…

treadmill mizuno…but it was not happening. Shoe issues, long day at work issues, motivation issues, tiredness issues, excuses excuses. But! The nice thing about being tired was I couldn’t work up the energy to mind not running. There are 365 days a year and I celebrate running on at least two-thirds of them. I’m doing just fine, thank you very much.

Always, Sierra

Crunchy or Smooth?

Do you tarp when you tent? Do you tarp and no tent?

What’s your breakfast look like? Same thing every day or switch it up? No breakfast?

What’s your favorite brand of almond butter?

No-Bake Cherry Almond Coconut Energy Bar Recipe

One of my goals this year is experimenting in the kitchen with the idea of food as fuel. I’m asking my body to do things it’s never done (hill repeats, intervals, moving faster than a snail’s pace) and I’d like to make sure I’m doing everything I can to help it succeed. I’m not a picky eater, I like to stuff my face with all the food, but unfortunately not all the food makes my body happy.

I thought I’d start my experimenting with something that sounded simple, and it doesn’t get much simpler than no-baking. After researching online and finding endless possibilities, I decided to throw something together with what we already had on hand: dried cherries, dates, shredded coconut, flaxseed and almonds.

P1000530

1. Spread the almonds out in a single layer, and toast at 350F for 12-15 minutes. When they’re done, the almonds will get darker in color, and smell toasty and delicious. (Sidenote: that’s my expensive pizza stone I bought right before the Mr. and I got off our our homemade pizza kick #failsauce)

P1000532

2. While the almonds are toasting, combine the dried cherries, dates, coconut flakes and flaxseed in a food processor.

P1000540

3. When the almonds are toasted, remove and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Add them to the food processor.

P1000541

P1000543

4. Start processing!

P1000544

5. Realize that you crammed the food processor just a little too full, and remove half of the mixture. Continue food processing in batches, a few minutes for each batch. Keep an eye on the dried fruit as it tends to clump together. The consistency of the mixture will become slightly sticky with small bits of nuts. It’s okay if some of the bits are larger than others, because all the bits are delicious.

P1000545

6. Line a pyrex dish or baking tray with parchment paper, and empty the mixture into the tray. Press the mixture down flat, creating a level layer.

P1000547

P1000548

P1000549

7. Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. I left them in for 2 hours and they came out firm and easy to cut. I portioned them into 16 small squares, and promptly popped one  in my mouth. I was not disappointed…tasty!

P1000571

8. I portioned out half for the freezer, and half for the refrigerator. I put parchment paper between bars to more easily separate them and grab individual bars as needed. The longer they’re out of the fridge before you eat them, the gooier they’ll get.

P1000573

P1000574

What I’d do differently: Find a way to work more protein into the bars. Add more flaxseed, probably a 1/2 cup total. For a stronger coconut flavor, I’d up the amount of shredded coconut to a 1/2 cup.

When I’d eat these: During a hike, before or after a long run, as a snack when I’m craving a large cookie, on a random Tuesday afternoon. The dried fruit puts them on the sweet side so they also work as a healthier dessert option.

Cherry Almond Coconut Energy Bars

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup dates, pitted
  2. 1 cup dried cherries
  3. 1 cup almonds, toasted or raw
  4. 1/4 cup coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened per taste
  5. 1/4 cup flaxseed

Toast almonds. Combine all ingredients in food processor. Process for 2-5 minutes, until consistency is sticky and well mixed. Press mixture into a parchment-lined tray, creating a level layer. Chill for 1-2 hours, cut into desired portions and enjoy!

Nutrition Info for 1 bar, 16 servings total (using online calculator): Calories 130, Fat (g) 5.9, Carbohydrates (g) 18.25, Protein (g) 2.8

Always, Sierra

What’s your favorite brand of energy bar?

Do you ever make homemade ones?